Aaron Hicks, the centerfielder for the New York Yankees, will be out until the all-star break of next season. He signed a 7 year, $70 million contracts last offseason, which may have been a mistake by the Yankees front office.
In 2018, his last full season, Hicks batted .248, hit 27 home runs, and drove in 79 runs. His home run and RBI totals were both career highs (Baseball-Reference). He seems to be reaching his max potential at 30 years old. Hopefully, after he recovers from Tommy John surgery, he can stay healthy and play out his contract. The Yankees truly do not need a repeat of Jacoby Ellsbury, luckily Hicks is not worth as much as him.
The Yankees’ Options in Centerfield
The Yankees resigned Brett Gardner for one year, $12.5 million, and a $20 million option for the 2020 season. Gardner arguably had his best season last year and was runner-up for team most valuable player. He will be the Yankees starting centerfielder until Hicks comes back. However, Gardner is not a long term replacement and will most likely not perform at the level he did last season.
Estevan Florial, who is 22, is a possible piece in the Yankees future in centerfield. He is not ready for the majors yet, but he has the potential to hit .300 and steal 20 bases. He would be a valuable asset in the Yankees lineup that lacks speed and contact hitting.
Another possible option for the New York Yankees would be to trade Hicks once he gains value, especially if Florial excels in the minors and is ready for the big stage. The Yankees can look to get a young pitcher or solid defensive starting catcher for Hicks which would benefit both sides.
Ultimately, Hicks needs to play at a level to be the starting centerfielder for years to come, and it starts with staying healthy. In a full season, Hicks can hit 25 home runs and drive in 80 plus runs. His next full season, if he has one in the near future, will be his statement year.